By: Ghost of the Dawn
Epilogue: The Days After
Crystal stayed with the man named Sparkplug Witwicky for a couple of days while she regained her health. She liked him. He had a gruff way of talking, but still had a caring, fatherly way about him. He reminded her of her own father who had also been rough around the edges, but cared in his own way. His house was also very homey and comfortable.
While staying with him, Crystal learned a bit about Sparkplug and his family's history with the Autobots. He and his son had met them some twenty odd years ago. Now, his son was married and had a son of his own. Crystal enjoyed hearing the stories, but she also expressed her desire to be on her own two feet again. Sparkplug fully understood and offered his assistance in helping her find a job and an apartment.
"Hey Crystal," Sparkplug called to her after the third day of staying with him. "There's something out front for you."
Crystal looked up from her employment ads, but Sparkplug offered no further information. Curiously, she got up and poked her head out the door. Out front was Crystal's car. But that wasn't what made her squeal. it was the silver Porsche parked in front of it.
Crystal dashed from the house and threw herself on the white four decorating the hood.
"My favorite number," she cooed at the car. "Look how big and beautiful you are!"
Jazz chuckled. "Yup! Everyone's back to normal. Get in here so I can take a good look at you."
He opened his driver side door and Crystal happily sat inside.
"Ooh, very nice interior, Jazz," she praised as she rand her hand over the dash board.
"Thanks! You look like you're doing okay yourself."
Crystal touched the bandage decorating her forehead.
"Yeah, I'm still picking glass out of it and I have to keep my hand bandaged for another couple of weeks. But I'm feeling better."
"I'm sorry you got hurt," Jazz said in a sober tone.
"It's okay. I'm just glad you're all safe." She made a sad noise as she hugged his steering wheel. "I can't fit my arms around you any more."
"Aw, I'm sorry. We salvaged what we could from Sunstreaker's trunk and put it in your car. Maybe that will make it up to you."
Crystal looked a bit confused, but smiled anyway. "Thanks! I'll be happy to finally get my clothes back."
Jazz paused. "You wouldn't want to go for a ride with me, would you?"
Crystal's eyes widened. "Really? Do you want me to get in the passenger seat?"
"Nope. You're fine. Just buckle up and hold on."
Crystal poked her head out of the window. "Mr. Witwicky, Jazz is going to take me for a drive. I'll be back later."
"That's fine. Enjoy yourselves," Sparkplug nodded as he waved them off.
"This is so weird," Crystal said a few minutes into the drive. She had her hands on the steering wheel but was allowing it to turn by itself. It took a bit of will power not to push the pedals. "It's hard to get used to. I feel like I want to take control."
"You did fine last time with Sunstreaker," Jazz chuckled. "But then again, you weren't in the driver's seat."
That name again...
"I actually don't remember any of it," Crystal admitted.
"Really? Will you ever?
"Gone forever, says the doctor. The whole day. Last thing I remember is the hospital that night."
"That's a bummer."
"I don't know." Crystal looked out the window. "I don't feel like they would be memories I would want to keep anyway. I'm just glad the worst part is over."
Jazz suddenly swerved and Crystal grabbed for the wheel.
"Ha ha! Made you flinch!"
"Jazz!" Crystal barked, kicking at the car where ever she dared.
"Hey! Hey! I'm driving! Don't distract me!"
"Then don't scare me like that!" Crystal paused when she noticed they were heading out of the city. "Hey, where are we going?"
Ahead, there were miles of open space and Mount Saint Hilary in the distance.
"Going to my home base so you can see how the other half lives."
Crystal stiffened as she looked at the volcano getting closer.
"Are we going inside?"
"Well, yeah. If you want to."
Crystal bit her lip. "I'm not very comfortable with going inside. Is that... okay?"
Jazz chuckled. "Lady, anything you want is okay by me."
Crystal gave him a thankful smile. Then frowned when she saw Jazz hadn't changed his course. Mount Saint Hilary was coming up fast.
"Don't worry Crys, we're not going to get too close to it, I promise."
He stopped on a rise where the Ark, the spaceship that now served as the Autobot base, could be seen poking out of the side of the volcano. From the entrance, a black and while police car drove out to meet them. Crystal got out as it parked beside Jazz and she ran her hand over the top of the car. Then she bent to look in through the driver side window.
"Hello. How are you feeling?"
Crystal smiled. She couldn't count how often the police car had asked her that.
"I'm doing great. How about yourself?"
"Very well. Running at 98% efficiency. Thank you." He rolled down his window. "I brought someone with me."
Crystal peered inside and saw a yellow and red boom box.
"Blaster!" She pulled him out through the window. "Are you all fixed now?"
"You bet babe!" The radio crowed happily. "Check this out!"
Blaster jumped out of her hands. Crystal let out a squawk of surprise as the small device folded out into a giant robot. She stumbled back from the behemoth towering over her, tripping and landing none too gently against Jazz's side.
"Crys, you okay?" The Porsche transformed into his robot mode and Crystal scrambled away from him as well.
"Careful you two," Prowl ordered. He had also transformed into robot mode and stretched his arm to hold the others back.
Crystal sat on the ground, wide eyed and clutching at her chest.
"Give me a mini heart attack!" she accused. "A little warning next time would be nice!"
"Sorry," Jazz said, though he was still grinning.
He slowly sat himself down cross legged and stretched out his hand, waiting for the human to come to him.
Though hesitant, Crystal got to her feet and slowly made her way over to them. Jazz now understood why she wasn't wanting to step foot inside the Ark. He would never have guessed it of her, but she seemed truly intimidated by their size. And why wouldn't she be? They had been around the Witwicky family so long, Jazz had forgotten how frightened they had been of them the first time they met. Not to mention Crystal's various run ins with the full-sized Decepticons probably didn't help.
Crystal stared as she put her hands on Jazz's finger. The size difference was staggering. She knew they were going to be big, but nothing could have prepared her for the real thing. They now felt like they truly were; a world far different from hers.
"You guys are huge," she said stupidly.
"But harmless," Jazz insisted. "Come on Crys, you know it's still us."
Crystal leaned in closer to him and lowered her voice to more of a whisper. "Jazz, why is Blaster taller than you? He turns into a radio."
Jazz frowned. "Because life's not fair."
"Believe it babe," Blaster said. "All this awesome can fit in a convenient little package." He transformed back into radio mode and fell neatly into her arms. "You can still hug me."
To which she did and then pulled back sadly. "Aww... it's not the same. I wish you stayed the same size when you turned back into a robot."
"So sorry," was Blaster's sarcastic response. "I'll speak to my creator about that right away."
"Prime apologizes for not being able to meet you," Prowl said. "He and the others had responsibilities to attend to."
Crystal gave him a satisfied smile. "That's good. It's what I hoped; to get you guys home so everything would return to normal."
Prowl nodded, also satisfied. "Yes, that was the goal. To return back to the regular routine. And I'm afraid I must get back to work soon as well. I'm sorry I can't stay longer."
"Do you what you gotta do," Crystal replied. "I should get back to work on getting my own life together. Can't live off someone else forever."
Prowl nodded and transformed back into card mode. Crystal placed Blaster back inside.
"I wish you luck," Prowl said. "And it was good to see you."
"You too, Prowl."
Crystal watched the police car drive away. Her eyes followed him all the way to the entrance of the Ark. As he drove in, a large robotic T-Rex stalked out. He seemed to sniff the air and turned his massive head in her direction. Crystal gave him a small wave.
Grimlock just watched her. The tip of his tail twitched. Then he turned and lumbered off.
Jazz had also been watching.
"Don't worry about it, Crys. That's just the way he is."
Crystal shook her head. "It's okay. He's where he belongs now."
She looked up at Jazz, taking in his size. He let her look over him from top to bottom and then gave a crooked smile.
"So do you not like me any more because I'm too big now?"
"Aww, Jazz..." Crystal walked over and pressed her hands and cheek against the warm metal of his shin. "I will always like you no matter what your size."
"Glad to hear it," Jazz chuckled. "Shall I escort you home then?"
Crystal backed up to give him room to transform.
"I would be delighted."
Later that day, Prowl walked into Optimus Prime's office, vid pad in hand.
"Here's the report of the damages the Dinobots inflicted in New York," Prowl said as he handed it to his leader. "Ratchet's repair crew reduced the costs considerably. Here is what's left."
Optimus glanced over the numbers. "Good, Prowl. This amount shouldn't be a problem. Thank you."
Prowl nodded and turned to leave. The room Optimus used as an office was small. It was hardly more than a utility closet refurnished after the Autobots decided their crashed space ship was good enough to serve as their base of operations.
The room was modest and hardly befitted one of Optimus' status, but he insisted it more than suited his needs. The place had also stayed fairly plain over the years so upon leaving, Prowl instantly noticed something different.
Silver chimes were hanging on the wall. Prowl recognized them as the ones from Crystal's car. Optimus must have had them on him when he was returned to his normal size. The chimes would never fit on her rear view mirror now. It was big enough to clearly read the inscription on the ornate piece of metal that the three chimes were tied to.
Prowl turned to Optimus. "Why did you take that?"
Unphased by the blatant question, Optimus wandered over to look at it, hands clasped behind his back.
"It means something to me," he said simply. "I didn't mean to keep it, but I'm afraid I can't give it back now."
Prowl looked at the inscription for a while.
"I'm sure she will forgive you," he said and then left the room.
A week and a half later, Crystal hefted two full bags up the stairs to her new apartment. She liked it. The neighborhood seemed nice and it was close to the firm she had a job interview at. Of which she was hopeful, having similar job experience back in New York.
The apartment was bare and unfurnished, but Crystal didn't care. It was now a place she could call home. She dropped to the ground and curled up on the carpet among the few belongings she still had left. She sighed heavily as she stared at the plain white wall. The apartment was quite small, but at that moment it felt big and impossibly quiet.
... To be Continued in "Ghost in the Machine"
Author's Notes: Thanks to everyone who read this story, especially those who sent me reviews! I really appreciate the support of this fic. There are actually five books in this series and most of them have already been written and posted. If you liked this fic, I sincerely hope you'll also take time to read the sequel "Ghost in the Machine".